Shelton, WA — The City of Shelton is pleased that Hall Equities Group feels it is making progress on various fronts as it works on the Shelton Hills development.
However, the city is concerned about assertions that sewer issues are a "bureaucratic and financial hurdle" for the project.
- The city has not required that all expected sewage flow from the first phase of the development be directed to the nearby Satellite Water Reclamation Plant (SWRP), recently proposed grading work by Hall Equities Group has complicated the use of existing wastewater infrastructure;
- The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) did not expect all wastewater to be directed to the existing sewer collection system, but distributed to the most convenient treatment site; and,
- The current status of the main Wastewater Treatment Plant’s system capacity, economic benefits of the Satellite Wastewater Reclamation Plant’s proximity to the Shelton Hills development site, and potential impacts on sensitive aquifer recharge areas must be considered in context of changes to the overall sewer collection system since 2013.
The City of Shelton welcomes the opportunity to work with Hall Equities Group on establishing a feasible path forward on the completion of the Shelton Hills development project.
The city has acted as a good partner with Hall Equities Group through the initial stages of the project. Transparent and cooperative efforts of the city should make it clear that there are no intentions of placing undue bureaucratic or financial hurdles in the way of project completion.
The city has requested a development agreement with Hall Equities Group, as stipulated in the Planned Action Ordinance (Ordinance Number 1845-0214) adopted by the Shelton City Commission on March 17, 2014, to lay out obligations of both parties, and specify the standards and conditions that will wisely guide a retail and residential center that will benefit the entire community. This would provide assurances that regulations that apply to the project will not change during the term of the agreement; establish appropriate conditions to mitigate project impacts; and, clarify project phasing and timing of proposed improvements.
Although Hall Equities Group has not officially responded to our requests for a development agreement, we look forward to working with them on this highly anticipated project.
In response to the city sewer issues outlined in a press release issued by Hall Equities Group dated January 29, 2018, the City of Shelton declares the following:
- The City of Shelton has not mandated that all proposed sewage flow from Phase 1 of the Shelton Hills development be directed to the Satellite Water Reclamation Plant (SWRP), creating unanticipated costs for the Shelton Hills Project. The only reference to the potential decommissioning of the vicinity sewer main was in an email response dated August 9, 2017 to Fill and Grade Permit CFG 166-17. Therein, the city states in part:
"The design (Grading Plan submitted by Hall Equities) includes adding 16 feet of material over the existing water main. The maximum cover over city water mains is 60 inches. Provide engineered plans to replace the water main to meet this standard. The design includes adding 16 feet of material over the existing sewer main and manhole that are already 20+ feet deep. The sewer connection cannot be used for the development. The City Wastewater Treatment Plant does not have sufficient capacity for this development. Plug, with concrete, the sewer main and remove the sanitary sewer manhole."
Simply stated, the proposed grading plans submitted by Hall Equities Group on June 19, 2017 would have rendered the existing onsite water and sewer mains unusable, considering how deep the lines would have been buried by the proposed grading work. This development, meaning the proposed grading plan as submitted by the developer, would have put critical design constraints on the sewer main, resulting in the creation of infrastructure that the city would not be able to access and/or maintain. Currently, the city has no intent to decommission the existing water and sewer mains that could – in part – temporarily serve Phase 1 of the Shelton Hills development.
- The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), finalized in January 2014, does state that where possible, all sanitary sewage would gravity flow to the existing City of Shelton sanitary sewer system. The EIS also clearly outlines the necessity of directing sanitary sewage from the Shelton Hills Project to the Satellite Water Reclamation Plant (SWRP) and the use of multiple pump stations:
Shelton Hills Mixed-Use Development Project Draft EIS – 3.9-20 & 3.9-21
"Where possible, all sanitary sewage would gravity flow to the existing City of Shelton sanitary sewer system. Pump stations would be used when necessary. The existing sewer conveyance system in the vicinity of the site does not have adequate capacity to serve the Shelton Hills project at full buildout and upsizing of the downstream sewer system parallel to Olympic Highway N right-of-way would be necessary. Proposed sewer mains on the site would use gravity flow wherever feasible. However, it is anticipated that pump stations would be required to convey sewage from lower areas on the site to gravity systems or directly to the satellite reclamation plant to the north of the site. A flow diversion system would be established in the vicinity of Basin 1 and Basin 2, which would provide the City of Shelton the flexibility to divert sanitary sewage flows to the satellite water reclamation plant or the wastewater treatment plant as required by system flows and the City of Shelton’s needs."
As stated in the EIS, where possible, the city is willing to accommodate the gravity flow of sanitary sewage from Phase 1 of the Shelton Hills Project to the main wastewater treatment facility through the existing sewer line. However, the last projections related to sewer system capacity requirements were submitted in early 2013. Acceptable system capacity estimates made by the City of Shelton in 2013 for the existing sewer main are now obsolete. In accordance with the EIS, should Hall Equities Group present updated system capacity requirements for Phase 1 of development, the city will then conduct an assessment to determine the possible amount of sanitary sewage that could feasibly be directed to the main treatment plant through the existing sewer main. The city has yet to receive an updated proposal from Hall Equities Group on the potential system capacity needs during Phase 1.
- In 2012, a $37 million dollar upgrade of the city’s main Wastewater Treatment Plant was completed. Over the past five years, city staff has been able to monitor the system capacity of the main plant. The past five years of monitoring reports indicate that the main plant is currently much closer to its design capacity than was anticipated in 2013/14 when the Environmental Impact Statement was completed for the Shelton Hills project. This should not be interpreted to mean that no sanitary sewage from Phase 1 would be allowed through the existing sewer main to the main wastewater treatment facility should the city’s assessment indicate that acceptable system capacity exists. It simply means that system demands and facility conditions have changed since 2013. Those changes must be considered when assessing additional demands on the overall sewer collection system.
Additionally, recent advancements in technology render the expansion of the Satellite Wastewater Reclamation Plant (SWRP), located approximately a quarter mile north of the Shelton Hills development site, much more affordable than expansion of the main plant, or the development of a new wastewater treatment plant should the existing plant reach capacity. The city also desires to maintain water levels in the sensitive aquifer recharge area located on the northern portions of the Shelton Hills site, as well as a large portion of the north side of the city and Urban Growth Area, through the reintroduction of Class A reclaimed water into the aquifer through the SWRP. This would also eliminate additional discharge directly into Oakland Bay through the main wastewater treatment facility.